Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring Gave a Strong Push to the Environmental Awakening that Lead to the Establishment of the EPA


September of 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of one of the most influential books of modern times, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.

Rachel Carson’s 1962 book, which focused on what she saw as the widespread and detrimental use of pesticides, is credited as being the catalyst for the modern environmental movement and helping to lead to the creation of the US EPA in 1970.

Silent Spring, Publish in 1962, A Book of Immense Influence

“With the publication of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” average citizens grasped, maybe for the first time, how their choices could harm the environment in which they live,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. ”Each of us is an engine of change in the choices we make, what we buy and how we live.”

The New Yorker started serializing Silent Spring in June 1962, and it was published in book form  by Houghton Mifflin later that year. When the book Silent Spring was published, Rachel Carson was already a well-known writer on natural history, but had not previously been a social critic. The book was widely read—especially after its selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club and the New York Times best-seller list.  The book inspired widespread public concerns with pesticides and environmental pollution .

Silent Spring started the dialog that resulted in  the ban of the pesticide DDT[3] in 1972 in the United States. The book documented detrimental effects of pesticides on the environment, particularly on birds. Carson accused the chemical industry of spreading purposely misleading the public, and she accused public officials of accepting industry claims uncritically.

Read the EPA’s Statement on the 50th Anniversary of Silent Spring